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Willis M In HomeHome In StudioStudio
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Instruments: Piano, Guitar, Saxophone, Flute
Styles: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Blues, Folk

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Willis M In Home In Studio
Instruments: Piano, Guitar, Saxophone, Flute
Styles: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Blues, Folk

Where I Teach:
In Your Home My Studio Online
Ages Taught: 10-80
Levels Taught:

EMAIL US OR CALL 877-687-4524

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ABOUT
Degrees / Training / Special Info:
BM, Eastman School of Music, Jazz Saxophone Performance MM, New England Conservatory, Jazz Saxophone Performance, MS, Nazareth College, Music Therapy
Awards:

 

2009- Downbeat Magazine best College Big Band

2008- Howard Hanson Scholarship to Eastman School

2015- Music Therapy Intern at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, IL

 

Overview:
I am a professional saxophonist specializing in Jazz performance and have spent many years playing in cities such as Chicago, Boston, New York City, and Rochester, New York. I double on flute and am proficient in that instrument as well. I have taught students for several years now and have taken classes in pedagogy and teaching skills.  In addition to the jazz musician side of me, I am also a music therapist. I currently go to school at Nazareth College and am in the graduate program in creative arts therapy and am an intern at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, IL. I have worked with older adults with alzheimer's, adults with mental health issues, hosptialized children and adolescents, and survivors of stroke. I plan to work in a medical facility as a music therapist once I graduate from school. As a result of my music therapy practice, I am very proficient in piano and guitar and can teach beggining and intermediate students on these instruments.
EXPERIENCE
I began teaching while I was in High School and I would teach the younger students who were freshman and sophomores the tenor saxophone. Once I went to Eastman, I taught several people throughout the course of the four years there. I beleive that, particulalry when teaching the saxophone and flute, a mix of classical fundamental technique is very important as well as incorporating the jazz or rock repertoire. I feel that my skills as a music therapist can be very unique particularly because I can really attend to the needs of the student and adapt the music and lesson accordingly. I believe that a person can truly grow as an individual when they bring music into their lives and my first and foremost goal is to have my students truly enjoy what they are doing. I am not a very strict teacher but I of course can be if my student really wants to excel. 
METHODS USED
For beggining students in guitar or piano, I would have them start with a basic beggining book such as something by hal leonard. With guitar I will teach basic chords and go from there to working on songs. Scales and chords will be a big part of beggining work in these instruments. As for Saxophone, I will usually begin with scales and long tone work- the later being something extremely important. We will then move into some classical work and then do beggining jazz etudes, and simple jazz vocabularly work. This will go very much the same with flute as well. Although I beleive working from books are important, I also am a huge proponent of learning things by ear and learning things through musical interchange within the course of the lesson. 
LESSON STYLE
My approach to teaching is very "person-centered"- in that I will adapt to the needs of the student. I do not have one stuanch approach in teaching music. I want to help students engage early on in "Music Experiences"- not just learning scales, but truly playing music with me, improvising, and enjoying themsevles. This sort of music work really formsm the bedrock of my music lesson and music therapy practice. 
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